Cow Canyon Fire still spreading smoke into communities

Contributed Photo By Michelle Post: Smoke billows from the Cow Canyon Fire.

Staff Reports

Greenlee County – The Cow Canyon Fire is being managed with a preference for a full suppression strategy and point protection when needed. Point protection involves identifying values at risk and deploying specific tactics to safeguard them from being impacted by the fire.

Today firefighters will be scouting for natural holding features and identifying a point protection strategy for the private properties on the Blue. Trigger points have been established near some of the ranches on the Blue and fire managers are ready to deploy resources if needed. It’s important to note that the Cow Canyon fire is burning in light to moderate ground fuels with some isolated torching, and is not experiencing the same extreme fire behavior as some of the wildfires that are currently burning in other western states. Due to the nature of the fuels involved, it is not anticipated that the level of fire activity will increase significantly in the foreseeable future.

The complexity of the fire has increased to involve multiple jurisdictions across two states and two national forests. The increased jurisdictional complexity has prompted the need to transfer command to a type 3 incident commander in the coming days, and other firefighting resources have been ordered.  The Cow Canyon fire has been burning since August with minimal changes in management actions. As a result, informational updates will be provided less frequently unless conditions change.

Values at risk

Primary objectives are to provide protection for private property, cultural resources, and historical sites. Thanks to successful firefighting operations, no identified values at risk have been impacted by the fire.

Closures 

Some recreational trails are closed for public health and safety due to wildland fire activities along the trails. The affected trails, temporary closure order, and map can be found at https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/asnf/alerts-notices/?cid=stelprd3793918.

Weather

Today’s forecast is calling for highs near 83 degrees and light winds. The warm and drying trend is expected to continue with no precipitation in the near-term forecast.

Safety 

Smoke may be visible in Springerville, Alpine, Clifton, and western New Mexico. Air quality can be found on the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality’s webpage at https://azdeq.gov/

Walt Mares File Photo/Gila Herald: This photo taken Saturday, Oct. 3, shows thick smoke from the Cow Canyo fire that blankets the air around Morenci and Clifton. The sharp peaks around Clifton are barely visible because of the smoke. The smoke was thick enough to impair breathing and cause eyes to water.

Jake Springs Fire

As of Wednesday, the Jake Springs Fire was listed at 86 acres with 30 percent containment.

The fire began Oct. 4, and the cause is still under investigation.

Due to the heavy amounts of down and dead fuel in the area, smoke may continue to be visible near the towns of Vernon, Greer, Eager, Springerville, and Hidden Meadows, as well as along U.S. Highway 60 and U.S. Highway 260.

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